James McBride discusses his latest book, Deacon King Kong, with Sam Sanders at NPR, as well as the the importance of writing without regard for other people’s expectations. “I don’t think you can write books if you worry about what people think and what they’re going to say,” McBride says. “You know, the craft of putting together a story with a kind of complicated matter that is involved in story structure, you know, in a 300- or 350-page book, it’s too complicated to worry about whether someone’s going to say this […] You have a purpose to do something. You don’t choose writing. Writing chooses you.”
Kundiman, an organization dedicated to “the creation and cultivation of Asian American poetry,” is now accepting submissions for its annual Kundiman Poetry Prize. One winner will receive $1,000, book publication with Alice James Books, and a featured reading in New York City. The deadline is March 1, 2013.
At The Nervous Breakdown, Micah McRary talks with Leslie Jamison about her use of POV, her new book of essays and whether her criticism might be dubbed “evasive biography.” You could also read our interview with Jamison or else read Ryan Teitman’s review of The Empathy Exams.
In 1980, Julio Cortázar gave a series of lectures at Berkeley, which you can now read in the slim, simply-titled volume Literature Class. Among the highlights? This sentence: “I had lived with a complete feeling of familiarity with the fantastic because it seemed as acceptable to me, as possible and as real, as the fact of eating soup at eight o’clock in the evening.”
A recent survey of 19th century British literature uncovered advertising subtly placed within classic texts by authors like Dickens, Austen, and Thackeray. From Vanity Fair, for example: “‘My sisters say she has diamonds as big as pigeons’ eggs,’ George said, laughing. ‘How they must set off her complexion! Surely she avails herself of Madame A.T. Rowley’s Toilet Mask (or Face Gloves)…’” (via Book Bench)